56 Brewing

I was lucky to make it out to 56 Brewing in their first home. With no official taproom, and limited hours, their first home is a humble one. Soon, they will be moving out to a new space (just blocks from their current Northeast Minneapolis location), passing their current one off to a new brewery.

Despite the small space, the patio easily lends a comfortable energy to the brewery. Hammerschlagen, a grill, and a fairly abundant garden all convert the small patio into a bustling destination for a Friday night in July. The presence of Zeus, the owners’ German shepherd, adds my favorite level of comfort.

Pretty much everything about 56’s story is cool, so I’ll send you to their website to read up on all they are doing. Because the current space is off-sale, only tastings are allowed, which meant the opportunity to sample plenty of great beers. Each brew proved enjoyable and something I would easily order again. The mint-infused Dark Territory was a particularly new flavor for me, and I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it. Due to its unique, but approachable flavor, I opted to bring home a grumbler of the NE Nectar to share.

While at the brewery, I got to meet four key members of the team, including the President/Master Brewer, Kale; VP/Kale’s wife, Kerry; CFO, Kristin; and CTO, Joe. The four of them offered tidbits of stories–logos, day jobs, investing, goals–painting a larger story of the brewery.

One of the stories they told me was of the origin of 56’s name. Kale, an engineer, had always identified with the number 56, and knew it would be the name of his brewery. As a (semi)perfect number, and the length of Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak, 56 takes on significance in several facets.

Recently, at his family’s barn, Kale pulled out an old boat his dad had made for him in the 70s. One of the cranks, fashioned with old bike parts, featured the number 56 forged into the metal. You can now see that story in the logo, depicted with a small gear between the 5 and 6. The boat is also mounted in the warehouse, where new stories are being created and told every day.

Joe told me, “Life ain’t perfect, but [the number] 56 is.” He later added, “If it works, stick with it; it’s always worked for him,” referring to how the number 56’s constancy in Kale’s life.

56

Meeting four people so important to the brewery and hearing how their stories tied in with the business was such a unique experience. It offered a window into the brewery’s story, an important cross section of time and space for four individuals whose lives intersect there. Whether the number 56 is a memory, baseball statistic, or nerdy favorite for an engineer, it became more than a number or idea when the brewery was born, and I am happy to watch it continue the process of becoming.

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